Healthy Hot Cross Buns
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The ultimate Easter bake made healthy. These Healthy Hot Cross Buns are enriched with buttermilk and naturally sweetened with fruit and agave syrup - delicious !
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Home Baking
Serves: 16
  • Zest and juice of an orange
  • 75 g (½ cup) sultanas
  • 25 g (2 tablespoons) mixed peel (optional)
  • 325 ml (1 ⅓ cup) buttermilk (or half yoghurt and half milk)
  • 1 dessert apple - grated
  • 6 tablespoons agave syrup (can substitute with honey or maple syrup)
  • 350 g (2 ½ cups) strong white plain flour
  • 150 g (1 cup) whole wheat flour (I used Elephant Atta Chakki Gold)
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast (I used Doves Farm)
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
Hot Cross Pastry:
  • 6 tablespoons plain flour
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
  1. Place the orange juice in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes to reduce by about half. Add the sultanas (and mixed peel if using) and set to one side.
  2. Warm the buttermilk for one minute on high power in the microwave. Stir in the grated apple and agave syrup.
  3. Add the flours, yeast, bicarb and cinnamon into a large bowl along with the buttermilk mixture and mix together to form a rough dough.
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. (Alternatively you can use a stand mixer to knead your dough.)
  5. Spread the dough out into a rectangle and sprinkle over the fruit mixture. Bring the dough back together and knead until the fruit is evenly distributed.
  6. Place the dough in a large greased mixing bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 ½ hours until doubled in size.
  7. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and divide into 16 pieces, approx 75 to 80 g each. Shape into balls and place on a baking tray fairly close together and flatten each ball a little. Cover with greased cling film and prove for one hour in a warm place.
  8. While your Hot Cross Buns are proving, make your hot cross 'pastry.' In real terms, it isn't a pastry at all and is much easier than making and rolling out pastry strips.
  9. Sift the flour into a jug, add the water and mix well until you have a smooth paste.
  10. Preheat your oven to 400°F / 200°C / Gas Mark 6
  11. When your hot cross buns are ready for the oven, pipe or use a spoon to form the crosses on your buns.
  12. Place in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
  13. Brush with agave or maple syrup for a shiny glaze and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Healthy Hot Cross Buns freeze well.
Recipe by Tales From The Kitchen Shed at